If you don’t have time to stop in for a coffee or you find your hotel doesn’t offer free Internet service, there is a solution. Getting connected online has just gotten a little easier, thanks to the T-Mobile webConnect USB Laptop Stick, which arrives just as the company has announced further expansion of its 3G network.
Available for $49.99 with a two-year contract (after rebate) or $99.99 with a one-year contract – also available for $249.99 without contract – the USB Laptop Stick will let you surf remotely with up to 5GB of wireless data. The plan costs $59.99 a month, with a $0.20/MB overage charge, but their unlimited HotSpot access is included in the plan and doesn’t count against the customer’s monthly usage.
So this is clearly aimed at the traveler who needs to check e-mail on the go, and send back and forth a few files; as opposed to the always-on-the-road warrior who will be sending massive files daily. But for those who do need to use a laptop on the go and need speeds that are faster than dial-up and can’t always be within a Starbucks’ hotspot, this is a good solution.
The service is available over T-Mobile’s 3G high-speed data network (HSDPA) and is further accessible to the Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) network, which includes access to more than 10,000 locations in the United States. Additionally, this stick does double duty as an 8GB thumb drive, so users don’t have to worry about bringing along yet one more device… even one as small as a thumb drive.
Moreover, T-Mobile has announced plays to expand the 3G wireless broadband service, which currently covers more than 130 cities in the U.S., with an additional 100 cities added by the end of this year. That should make it a little easier for business users to get connected while on the go.
Mobile Handsets For More than Just Talking
This week research firm Accenture released the findings of a newly conducted survey, and the results show that just 41 percent of mobile handsets users only use the phones for voice calls. Flip the number and it suggests that 59 percent of those surveyed use it for other purposes.
Of course, of those surveyed a full 8 percent actually stated that they do not own a mobile phone at all. Of those who do own a phone, the uses beyond calls counted for texting at 22 percent and e-mail at 16 percent. Additionally, listening to music was cited by about 25 percent of respondents, but gaming was mentioned by only 1 percent. Both numbers are surprising, but there has been a noticeable push with phones that can do double duty as a music player. As for gaming, it is seems strange that the figure is so low – aren’t people at least playing a Tetris clone or snake? This seems to be a case where maybe users just don’t want to speak the truth, but if the number is true, that’s very bad news for game developers who have seen this as a vast an untapped market.
But for business and personal use, browsing of the mobile Web increased to 23 percent in 2009, up from a mere 8 percent a year earlier. No doubt the latest handsets, including the iPhone and G1 using Google Android have helped push those numbers up. Even the regular desktop Web never saw a three-fold increase in a single year.
With these numbers on the rise, it will be very interesting to see if anyone is even talking on their handsets in another year’s time!